Want to guess what I was doing this past Saturday morning? I was going door-to-door for Barack Obama, making sure people had information about early voting and that they know exactly where their polling location is if they choose to vote on Election Day. (In case you didn’t know: for early voting, you can go anyplace within your county. The place where I voted was in a shopping mall next to a LensCrafters. On Election Day, though, you can only go to your district’s assigned voting location.)
I was planning to volunteer on Election Day, but the local Obama campaign office called me and asked if I could help over the weekend, and well heck, why not? It’s only for three hours, it’s not like it’s some huge imposition, and I do believe in the cause. It was fun. It was nice to chat with the other volunteers about the election, and most people that we talked to were very nice. A good portion of them had already voted, which was encouraging. We had a few people on our list who had moved, and the new residents were McCain supporters, which was awkward. But we just gave them the, “ok, sorry to bother you, have a nice day!” And it was fine. Nobody was overly rude, so overall I’d say the venture was a success.
Also, since it’s so close to the election, the local campaign office was giving volunteers all sorts of Obama gear for free. Which is how I scored a yard sign. Check it out.
It’s really bizarre to me how split our neighborhood is – on our street, there are an equal number of McCain and Obama yard signs. But what’s even weirder is how all of the kids are involved with it too. Yesterday, little Ryan gave me crap about my Obama yard sign, and I was like, dude, you’re 5 years old! How do you even know who the candidates are? His mom said she’s worried about him (and his older sister, Cate’s BFF McKenzie) because if Obama wins, she’s concerned that both of her kids are going to be totally depressed. WTF? Doesn’t that seem strange? I mean, I do remember getting picked on when I was in 2nd grade because my parents were voting for Walter Mondale, but I don’t remember caring that much about it.
There are also at least three other kids who live in our neighborhood who hang out with us almost every day when Cate and I are playing in the yard. Their parents are McCain supporters, so they keep asking me about Obama because they seem to want to understand the other side of things. So like, one of the kids came over and asked me what it meant that “Obama wants to spread the wealth around.” And you know, I don’t mind discussing politics with anyone; after all, even when people disagree with me, I can usually keep it respectful and polite, even if some of their views make me want to roll my eyes back in my head until I can see my own brain. But I keep hitting a road block with these kids: how do you explain politics to an 8 or 10 year-old? I can’t figure out a way to break down things like tax policy and “trickle-down economics” on a level where they can understand it. And then when they ask me what I think of Sarah Palin, I can tell them what I think about her lack of experience and the fact that she seems pretty uninformed about the world, but I can’t get into the abortion issue, or that she made rape victims pay for their own rape kits in Wasilla. I’m also trying to be very careful of how I phrase things because I don’t want their parents to get mad at me for putting my liberal beliefs in their kids’ heads. So it’s just strange. I’m anxious for Wednesday to get here just like everyone else, but one of my reasons is that I’m hoping that the daily barrage of questions will let up.
Speaking of waiting for Wednesday: I mentioned this on a post at Mandajuice today, but whatever happens with this election, I hope that whoever wins will work across the aisle toward the best interests of the entire country, not one small subset of the population. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (back when the parties had totally different ideologies), and he filled his Cabinet with a mix of both parties, because he wanted the smartest men available to work with him, regardless of their party affiliation. He wanted them to argue with him and give him the counter-point to every issue. George W. Bush has surrounded himself exclusively with other Republicans, so there’s no diversity of thought in this administration at all. I hope that regardless of whoever wins – even if it isn’t the guy I like – our next President will prove to be more like Lincoln, because that’s what we really need right now.